The only Kansas-owned cellular company will be swallowed up by a bigger Arkansas firm.
Kansas Cellular, the state's largest cellular telephone company, is being gobbled up by an Arkansas-based firm in a stock deal valued at $600 million.
Alltel Corp. said Tuesday it was merging with Kansas Cellular parent Liberty Cellular Inc. in a deal that will create a company with $6 billion in annual revenues.
"The merger of Alltel and Liberty Cellular is a natural extension of Alltel's geographic communications footprint," Joe T. Ford, Alltel chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.
It also will connect Alltel's Missouri properties to the soon-to-be acquired properties of Nebraska-based Aliant Communications.
Under terms of the agreement, the stock of privately held Liberty will be exchanged for 7 million shares of Alltel common stock. The deal will be accounted for as a pooling of interests.
Clarke Garnett, Liberty president and chief executive officer, said the merger would be a "win-win-win situation for the customers, the communities Liberty now serves and both companies. Alltel has a history of providing quality communications services and recognizes the importance of being a good corporate citizen in all of its markets."
Salina-based Liberty serves about 150,000 customers with its wireless digital network of more than 1,350 miles of fiber optic cable, paging, long distance and Internet access services. It operates in 100 of the state's 105 counties.
Little Rock-based Alltel is a customer-focused, information technology company that provides wireline and wireless communications and information services. It's been involved in more than 260 mergers and acquisitions in the past 30 years.
The merged company will have more than $9 billion in assets, 6.6 million customers in 25 states and more than 24,000 employees worldwide.
The merger, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, should be completed this fall. After that, Kansas Cellular and other Liberty companies will begin to market products under the Alltel brand.